The improvers

The Second Statistical Account (1840) for Avoch parish gives a picture of greatly improved farming methods.

On Rosehaugh Estate, run-rig was abolished and farms were let to individuals on long leases. It is recorded that a field of wheat “yielded thirteen returns” and that horses and cows “are of a very good stamp and breed”.

James Fletcher bought Rosehaugh in 1854 and he, and later his son James Douglas Fletcher, being very wealthy, brought about great improvements in the whole estate.

At Rosehaugh, prize pedigree Shorthorn and Aberdeen Angus cattle were bred, as were ponies, one of which was to become the favourite of King George V.

The other landowners on the Black Isle led the way in agriculture. However, among the greatest of the innovators were the Middleton family from the north of England. William and George Middleton came to the Black Isle in the 18th century and they and their descendants have helped to set the pace in agriculture in this area. The picture shows Mary and Jonathan Middleton with Sam Macdonald, Davidston Farm, Cromarty, 1920s.

NFU dinner for Dr Middleton in the Rosehaugh Hall, Factory Buildings, Avoch in 1934. Note the elegant surroundings. What happened to them?